The Book Blurb: Georgeanne Howard leaves her fiancé at the altar when she realizes she can’t marry a man old enough to be her grandfather, no matter how rich he is. Hockey superstar John Kowalsky unknowingly helps her escape, and only when it’s too late does he realize that he’s absconded with his boss’s bride. This bad boy isn’t looking to be anybody’s savior but his own. Still, a long night stretches ahead of them – a night too sultry to resist temptation.
Seven years later, Georgeanne and John meet again. She is on her way to becoming Seattle’s domestic darling and he is past his hellraising days. Shocked to learn that he has a daughter, John’s determined to be part of her life. Georgeanne has loved John since the moment she jumped into his car, but will he risk the wrath of his boss, and one final chance at glory, to prove that this time his love will be everlasting?
My take on the book: I had a hard time warming up to this story when I read it in 2008. There was a lot of backstory to absorb, and some of it was pretty far from being humorous – Georgeanne’s dyslexia, John’s disastrous first marriage. However, it’s not uncommon for me to like a story better the second time around, and that was true for the audiobook. However – I have a bone to pick with the narrator.
This is the second Rachel Gibson you have narrated, and also the second of your narrations I have listened to. I went back to my review of Rescue Me, which was released in print at the same time in May 2012, to refresh my memory. I liked your Texas twang and multiple characters, although I felt like you didn’t differentiate well between genders in that book. Before I started Simply Irresistible – Gibson’s debut novel published in 1998 – I looked to see what other audiobook work you had done since. You got a lot of critical acclaim for the thriller Criminal by Karin Slaughter, including from audiobooks blogs where there was an blog tour promoting it, but there are still only 4 titles total at Audible under your name.
In Simply Irresistible (SI), I liked your character voices and thought you did a better job lowering the register for John Kowalsky. It wasn’t real low, and you pitched the secondary romance hero Hugh’s voice too high, but it was still an improvement over Rescue Me. When you are speaking dialogue, your delivery is really good.
So what I’m wondering is, what went wrong with this narration? The Cranky Reviewer kept nagging at me because your narrative voice – speaking from POV, between dialogue – had a slightly annoying, sing-songy pattern that you don’t use while speaking dialogue. And then, every 2 or 3 minutes throughout the book, and sometimes more often, you took a nice loud breath and/or a pause right smack dab in the middle of a sentence, inappropriately mid-clause. Often it was right after you said “and” – almost as though you were tired of the author writing long compound sentences. I actually timed it at one point and heard you do this 5 times during one particular 10 minute section. It was such a contrast from your excellent dialogue that I actually talked to you throughout the book – “stop that!” I would say, or “No, not again, don’t breathe there! Arrrggg!!”
Recently, AudioGals have been discussing both online and behind the scenes the number of older books being released in audio. While SI isn’t my favorite Rachel Gibson, I’m glad it was recorded and I’m also glad that it doesn’t show any older, slightly graying roots. There is a scene where an answering machine plays an important part, and that made me smile because, hey, does anyone even use answering machines anymore? It’s pre-cell phone – well, they existed but were not ubiquitous – and it’s pre-Google and Facebook and almost pre-Internet, being set in 1996. But the love story was timeless, as good contemporaries should be.
I also went back to my original review of SI in print from about 5 years ago. I have to admit, I liked it better this time, in audio, in spite of the constant odd pauses and sing-songy vocal pattern.
[*apologies and thanks to Dear Author for borrowing the format – but hey, I think they wanted to use Dear Reader but someone was already using that…]
Book Content: B-
Steam Factor: Glad I had my earbuds in
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Harper Audio
Simply Irresistible was provided to AudioGals by Harper Audio for review.